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The Fear of Success – Martha Friedman – Summary

Almost everyone knows the fear of failure. What about the fear of success? Yes, you heard it right, I’m talking about the fear of being successful. In this section, I will give a summary of Martha Friedman’s The Fear of Success, which is a reference book written about the fear of success. According to the progression of the book, what is fear of success? While answering questions such as why is the fear of success, clients who are examples of fear of success will also be included. And of course, there is the fear of success test in the book, where you can test whether you have a fear of success, too. Since it is out of print at the moment, I hope this summary will be a helpful summary for both those who are afraid of success and professionals working in this field.

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So, with all due respect to Martha Friednman, let’s begin our summary of Martha Friednman’s Fear of Success book.

Part 1: Everyone Is Different

Fear of success is often hidden deep in our subconscious. It stems from early childhood experiences. It is strengthened by the messages of culture and family.

Fear of success leads to dissatisfaction in work and social life. Therefore, this fear must be overcome.

I’m talking about “internal success” here. “External success” is momentarily satisfying. But in the final stage, many people find themselves in a void filled with suffering. “Is that all about it?” says.

The real meaning of success is to achieve what is truly desired in the most beautiful way in business and love life and to feel good while doing it.

Fear of success arises as a result of not truly achieving what is desired. Because the person unconsciously thinks that he does not deserve this kind of success.

According to Freud, a person who can feel love and have the ability to work is healthy.

Inner success is being at peace with oneself.

the fear of success martha friedman dinginyasam.com

Fear of success is a contradictory phenomenon. On the level of consciousness, everyone wants to be successful. On the subconscious level, many people unconsciously believe that they will never achieve success, and even if they do, it will not last long. And most people are not even aware of these subliminal messages.

Fear of success takes control of life. But we don’t make time for it.

The first spark of fear of success is revealed in Freud’s principle: “People often fall ill when they see their long-held, long-desired wishes come true. It is as if they could not bear this joy. There is definitely a causal link between getting what they want and falling ill.” When we get what we really want, we walk away from it completely.

By the expression of falling ill, Freud means the physiological and psychological succumbing to himself. Depression, phobias, addictions, psychological disorders await us. The main cause of many diseases is stress and tension. Comedian Mel Brooks puts this phenomenon in a humorous tone: “Get off the straitjacket of your heart. It will attack you in one fell swoop.”

I have some things to add to Freud’s basic theory, the “disengagement theory“. Once you have achieved a goal, if you move away from it, you too will develop a fear of success. This fear will continue to exist if you do not integrate with your purpose and take the first step.

The Basic Contradiction of Society

Society touts success. But it also expects us to lose. If we win one way, if we lose another way. According to society, losing is natural, even a virtue. Because according to society;

  • One’s gain necessitates the other’s loss.
  • Humility is the cornerstone of life.
  • How you play the game is important, not whether you win or lose.
  • Every beauty will come to an end one day.

Success is seen as something that must be achieved quickly. Think about it, once successful movie stars, artists, politicians eventually choose to bring themselves down. Why do they commit suicide, why do they become addicted to drugs or why are they admitted to mental hospitals?

Realistically achieving what is desired puts one in danger.

The self-defeating attitude of the unconscious emerges in different conditions in every person, and this attitude can prevent a person from succeeding.

Part 2: No Matter What I Do, It Doesn’t Work

The person who knows who he really is, knows what he wants in life. The concept of “knowing yourself” “Gnothi Seauton” is the absolute condition for overcoming the fear of success. Unless we honestly appreciate ourselves, we will get nowhere.

To Know Yourself, You Must Know Your Personality. To do this, you can check the below articles here:

4 Personality Colors, 9 Enneagram Types and 16 MBTI Types!

Most people who experience fear of success first engage in a comprehensive self-seeking. And finally, “now I know myself, I am a ball of contradictions.” they say.

Some self-help books that fail to get to the root of depression and guilt are full of distressing suggestions. These books do not deal with the underlying causes of the traits that make the individual himself. This is like dressing a patient with cancer.

Everyone is different from each other. Therefore, no single recommendation can be made to overcome the fear of success. When analyzing a person, we need to consider his differences, unique attitudes and behaviors, and the experience he has had from past to present. Understanding individual integrity is a long and challenging task.

Fear of Success Test

To understand that you do not feel the fear of success, you can answer the following questions. How many of the features mentioned here do you provide?

By the way, remember, every person has a certain amount of fear of success. What we will focus on here is the fear of success, which emerges as a psychological disorder and negatively affects one’s life.

  • Do you think that when people get to know you very well, they won’t like you?
  • Are you afraid to reveal something about yourself?
  • Is your inner voice telling you that you are a fraud?
  • Do you think you are constantly pointing people’s mistakes in their faces?
  • Do you think it’s weird when you feel good?
  • Do you think feeling bad is a good sign?
  • Do you believe that good feelings cannot be experienced continuously?
  • Do you think people will appreciate you when you tell them how unlucky you are?
  • When everything is going well in your life, do you scrutinize the bad experiences you had in the past or do you feel uneasy about future disasters?
  • Do you see yourself as a victim of fate?
  • Do you prefer to show yourself or stay on the sidelines?
  • Do you hesitate to be a leader?
  • When you get something you want, do you turn away from it?
  • When you reach the goal you are chasing, your mind is “Is that all about it?” Is there a thought?
  • Do you find it easier to spend money on others than on yourself?
  • In your opinion, is competition the source of all evil?
  • When you compete with someone, do you feel like you are the source of all evil?
  • Is the work you are doing not worthy of you?
  • Are you bored with your job?
  • Do you change jobs often?
  • Are you afraid to quit your long-standing job when a better offer comes along?
  • Do you have diapers all over the place but are not an expert at anything?
  • Can’t find a job?
  • Is it possible to work in a field you love?
  • Once you have a job, can’t you keep it?
  • Unable to make progress in your job?
  • Do you love what you do or do you hate it?
  • No matter how hard you try to get somewhere on time, are you always late?
  • Do you have difficulty in making decisions?
  • Do you think that there are too many options to specialize in a particular field and can’t make a decision?
  • Unless you are given a specific date, can’t you finish the job you have undertaken?
  • Are you a perfectionist?
  • Are you afraid of making mistakes?
  • Do you prefer to be liked by people or to compete with people?
  • Do you postpone your plans?
  • Do you waste your time?
  • Do you worry about your free time?
  • Does Sunday give you anxiety?
  • Do you ever think that you came to this life to “win, always win”?
  • Do you not show the success you show at home at work?
  • Can’t you achieve the success you have at work at home?
  • Are you pessimistic about your family, do you worry that great dangers await them in the future?
  • Have you been raised as a baby rose baby? As a child, were you your father’s lion son/princess or your mother’s lamb?
  • Were you your mother’s scapegoat?
  • Did your family not realize your worth?
  • Or have you always been the star of your family?
  • Do you easily forgive mistakes for the sake of being liked by others, at any cost?
  • Are you afraid that your mistakes will be exposed?
  • Did people you care about turn you down?
  • Does anyone interest you, other than people who don’t agree with you?
  • Do your relationships last very short and always end in disaster?
  • Do you avoid entering into relationships by not risking the possibility of rejection?
  • When something goes wrong, do you feel responsible for what happened, even though you knew it was wrong?
  • Do you fake an orgasm?
  • Do you have premature ejaculation problem?
  • Do you use sex as a weapon?
  • Are you embarrassed to tell your lover/wife what you like about sex?
  • Are you shy?
  • If you have to wake up early in the morning, do you find it torture to have sex?
  • According to you, is sex an unpleasant, boring event?
  • Do you think that your excess weight affects your sexual life negatively?
  • Do your regimes always start tomorrow?
  • Do you repeat the mistakes you made?
  • Are you a regular student?
  • Are you satisfied with the average achievement level of your school?
  • Are you one of those who memorize before the exam or one who works to learn?
  • Are you a high school dropout?
  • Did you leave your doctorate unfinished?
  • Did you spend more money than you earned?
  • Is it your bad destiny to get into debt?
  • Do you calculate your money penny by penny for fear of falling into misery one day?
  • When someone praises you, do you sincerely accept what they are saying?
  • Or are you one of those who always consider facts as compliments?
  • Do you have these kinds of conversations with those around you?
    • You look great? – I guess you didn’t notice the weight I gained.
    • The meal was excellent. – I think I overdosed on the salt in the soup.
    • What a talk that was.
    • There’s no need to exaggerate.
  • “Everything could have been so much better.” Do you get the feeling?
  • Does the idea of moving or relocating scare you? Do you get this feeling even if you have the opportunity to move to a much better neighborhood?
  • In your opinion, is the destiny of those at the top to be alone?
  • Do you miss the ways you used to be miserable?
  • Do you think that everything has lost its meaning now? If you answered yes to most of these questions, you are probably a person who fears success.

Key Question

As for another question that forms the lifeblood of the above questions,

“Do you see the life you lead as a blessing offered to you?”

“Do you feel happy in your work and love life?

The answer you give to these questions will show whether you have a fear of success or not.

By the way, almost everyone has the fear of success, but the rate varies from person to person. This fear can manifest itself in different ways, from a mild neurosis to an obsessive phobia.

Those who understand the fear of success realize that this fear stems not only from themselves but also from others.

  • Does your mother always talk about how unfortunate she is?
  • Was your father a workaholic who neglected the family?
  • Or was your spouse/lover unable to keep a secret?

A Defense Mechanism For Children

Children are so afraid of abandonment that they will do unbelievable things to protect their families.

For example, reading disability in children is a sign that something is not right. The reason for this situation among gifted students who cannot read is the families who put pressure on success. These success-oriented families put tremendous pressure on the children, and the children were trying not to learn.

It is very important to learn about family life in order to understand the fear of success.

It is necessary to be able to see what kind of competition is going on within the family, how we are programmed to win or lose.

Example Case

For example, Johnny believed that by not reading he would keep his parents together. So he was doing this to keep his family together. While they were fighting, they would find out that their son could not read on the phone from the school, and they would stop fighting and deal with him.

Other Effects of Fear of Failure

Avoiding close emotional relationships. The thought that if someone knows me closely, they will see that big void inside me and run away from me.

The belief that if something goes well, something else will go wrong. The belief that somehow the good thing will spoil.

Başarısızlığı kabul eden her insan, bir şekilde başarı korkusu yaşamaktadır. Kaybeden derviş, kazanmaktan ürkermiş.

Negative Effect of Success There are also those who define success as what others have, which we do not. According to this, when it is reached, worthlessness and inadequacy will come to an end. But the effect of success itself is ignored. Achieving the success of others can lead to feelings of guilt, hypocrisy, helplessness, seclusion, depression and even suicide.

Those who have succeeded suffer as much as those who struggle for success. The reason is the understanding we have been adopted in childhood.

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